More and more parents are recognising the profound significance of outdoor play for the healthy development of their children. As a result, there is a growing movement of parents who are shunning screen time to immerse their kids in the sensory-rich real world Mother Nature has to offer.
Consequently, the importance of this experiential outdoor play that parents desire for their little ones, is equalled by the need for rainwear that offers the necessary protection for play out in the elements. Comfortable, protective and fun raincoats and gumboots are vital in facilitating wild weather playdates and spur of the moment walks in the rain. It’s all part of the adventure.
The Benefits of outdoor play.
While staying indoors might feel safer, more comfortable or more convenient during the cooler months, it doesn’t guarantee happier, balanced little people. In fact, cabin-fever can drive everyone in the family to feel a little short-tempered, so the encouragement to head outdoors is for everyone’s benefit.
What many don’t realise is that this outdoor adventuring will reap its own rewards. More time spent outdoors means less mess to clean up indoors, fewer tantrums and less mischief-making. That definitely gets a big tick from us!
As we bundle up the kiddos and trek out to the park or even just into our own backyards, we create a beautiful pocket of quality family time that is ripe for magic-making. And, once the fun is rolling, you'll often find no one wants the fun to end.
Romps in the gardens turn into toasting marshmallows around the fire pit and listening to the birds as they settle in for the night. As parents, we sometimes forget just how important our presence can actually be for kids. Taking the time to slow down and enjoy our surroundings also provides a great opportunity to fill our lungs with fresh air and appreciate the treasures of nature with those we love most.
Of course, outdoor adventures are free too, which makes them all the more appealing. So, instead of your kid running, jumping or bouncing their way through computer game levels, let them run, jump and bounce around outside. It will help them develop essential gross motor skills and make sure they burn up all that energy bubbling inside!
What to wear when going on a Nature Play Adventure
Comfort and warmth is key to enjoying the outdoors. And, since the weather won’t always play nice, it’s best to be prepared with a collection of handy waterproof layers. Consider a pair of sturdy kids rain boots, as well as a warm, protective raincoat. These are the essentials in helping nurture a love for nature in your little explorers.
Kids Rain Boots
What makes French Soda rain boots so great
Having a pair of trustworthy gumboots firmly on one’s feet is one way to guarantee a good time in the great outdoors.That’s why kids love to wear French Soda gumboots.
Firstly, they’re easy to pull on and off, which is great for those who are beginning to exercise a little more independence. Crafted from natural rubber, these kids rain boots bend with movement, making them an ultra-comfortable design that easily handles the energy and activity of outdoor-loving kids.
We’ve added a fleece inner lining for warmth, while a non-slip sole helps to keep these intrepid explorers on their feet over a variety of surfaces.
French Soda raincoats are the quintessential raincoat for your avid explorer. Designed with a generous hood and coat length, your child will have head to tummy coverage from the elements. The cosy cotton lining offers extra warmth, with a chunky zip making it easy for kids to dress themselves.
No nature walk is complete without chancing upon a treasure or two, so we’ve added big pockets that are perfect for safely stashing away those happy little discoveries. Or, simply for keeping hands toasty and warm!
And, finally, there’s a wide range of bright colours to choose from, ideal for making your crew easy to spot out in the wild.
So what can you do for fun in the great outdoors? We all have our favourite pursuits, but sometimes it’s nice to change it up, try something different and create new memories with the kids. Check out these ideas to add a little fresh fun into the mix:
Nature Play Activities in the Bush
Flowers for the picking
Australia has an abundance of beautiful wildflowers that make for a peaceful and educational activity. Spend a morning or afternoon gathering various blooms and bring them home to arrange in a flower press.
This is a great way to teach children about common and rare wildflowers. It can help develop identifying and matching skills by referring to a wildflower compendium, as well as foster curiosity in the world around them. Use the pressed and dried blooms later on to create pretty cards or make resin crafts.
Follow the Leader
Play Follow the Leader. This is a great way to go forest exploring. Everyone can have a turn at leading the group to forge paths or discover interesting parts of the forest. Once again, it will help to develop curiosity, as well as communication and risk assessment skills.
Go on a Gratitude Nature Walk
Take a Gratitude Nature Walk Map with you to prompt thoughtful and meaningful interactions with nature. Designed to help little explorers take note of all their senses when out in nature, a Gratitude Nature Walk Map can also help to cultivate a healthy growth mindset in kids.
Backyard play allows children a little more freedom and independence to interact with nature. To really maximise and encourage independent play opportunities, try setting up a Mud Kitchen complete with plastic or metal bowls, utensils, cookie cutters and whatever else you can find from op shop shopping hauls.. Kids love the freedom of tactile, sensory play and a mud kitchen is the perfect place for them to get creative with potions and mixtures of various kinds.
Care for a Critter
We love the idea of teaching kids to be considerate of all the natural elements around them. This includes looking after our precious native fauna. A fun way to engage kids is to encourage them to build a house for a backyard critter. They can get creative with materials and resources that can be found in the backyard, or maybe even reuse or recycle something like a box to create a cosy little home. This will inspire a real sense of ownership, pride and achievement. Priceless!
Housing for the fairies
However, if critters really aren’t your thing, get your kids into creating their own fairy garden. Afterall, fairies really are so much more cooperative! The Poppy and Daisy Mini Fairy Garden kits give you an excellent starting point for creativity. Head outdoors to hunt for additional items that can help to make each fairy garden personal and unique.
How to encourage Nature Play
If encouraging nature play doesn’t come easy for you, rest assured, we’ve put a lot of thought into how to make outdoor play easy for all parents, everywhere.
It’s important to remember that French Soda rainwear is easy to clean by design, so let the kids get messy! At the end of the day, underneath the mud splatter and raindrops, you will find impossibly wide smiles and bright eyes! This alone is reason enough to get the kids into outdoor play!
Getting involved is highly recommended, too! Kids not-so-secretly love it when you join them in their activities. We love the “Yesssssss” that bubbles up from excited kiddos when they learn you’re about to join them on their imaginary safaris and bug-hunting trips. Truly, what better way is there to bond with your precious little one than over the wonders that nature has in abundance.
Not everyone is a born adventurer though. And, that’s okay. So, if moral support is more your thing, we totally encourage you to organise outdoor adventures with a friend. Things of these sorts are always more fun when you go with others. You may need to embark on a trek with coffee in hand, arm-in-arm with another mum-friend, or perhaps laughing your way through the rain will help make it more bearable. Do whatever works for you!
One thing is for sure, this time spent together with your kids will give you plenty to talk about—on the car trip home, around the dinner table and definitely just before you kiss their sleepy heads at bedtime! Just frame it in a positive way! Sometimes kids need encouragement to be brave, adventurous or creative, and with you by their side to support them, it can be a most rewarding experience.
No matter what you may like to do, make sure to offer your kids a variety of activities to choose from, and then let them decide. This part can be just as fun! Oh, the suspense, the decision-making, the negotiating. When everyone is happy, get your gear together and go!
What to pack on a nature play adventure
So, you have a destination in mind. Now to pack all the goodies you need to make your outing a success.
The essentials include a water bottle, snack and lunch. Nothing brings an outing to a grinding halt faster than a lack of sustenance! Also, don’t forget to pack your French Soda raincoats and kids rain boots to protect against the elements. Again, you don’t want the weather to cut the fun short.
If you can, bring along accessories to keep the day rolling along with plenty of interesting things to do. A spade or a planned activity kit brimming with toys, balls, textas and notebooks will help your little ones engage in plenty of stimulating activities. Throw in some spare socks and a towel for the car trip home. A waterproof bag is also a good idea. It will come in handy to keep wet things separate from everything else.
How to encourage safe Nature Play
As with all play, nature play is not without its hazards. But, this fact shouldn’t deter healthy curiosity and exploration. Being informed and staying alert are two of the best ways to make sure you and your kids avoid hazardous situations
So, make sure you start the conversation with your kids about appropriate behaviours and how to deal with dangers if they arise. Some topics to broach include staying clear of dangerous animals, being mindful of crossing roads, as well as the need for care when climbing trees or scrambling over slippery logs.
Of course, the best way is to lead by example. Your kids are definitely watching you!
Ideas are brimming, plans are buzzing! We can see you are excited to make this winter season the best one yet with your little ones. Happy adventuring; we hope you have lots of fun outside making core memories.